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Castle Whiterock—Chapter 14: (Near-)Death and Taxes

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[Note: The holidays kept me from posting this update earlier. We're actually playing Chapter 15 today, 1/6.]
Characters
Emmeline Forthwrought, eccentric human wizard, with Jonathan, cat familiar.Frevia Arden, self-sufficient human druid, with Roberta, snake animal companion.Imra Shadowmantle, disciplined elven rogue.Melanie Shadowmantle, aristocratic human fighter, with Angelina, recovered toad.Emony Steelbrow (NPC), paladin of Justicia.
A Dark Omen While on watch outside the stable, Melanie sees a figure approaching purposefully from the rear gatehouse. She steps inside to wake the others and sees that the building is empty. When she turns around in the doorway, the figure is right outside. She recognizes it as Sir Karill of Kitchmon, whom she had beheaded two months ago outside Far Cirque.
Sir Karill blames her for ruining him, stripping him of his duty to his lord, and dooming his people. Melanie responds that they didn't start the fight that ended in his death. The two figh…